Tips on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

May 2020 Safety Topic

The illness known as Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 (named for the year that it first came into existence), is a disease that attacks the respiratory system and is caused by a group of viruses that are known as corona viruses.  One feature of these viruses are the crown-like spikes on their surfaces.  Other examples of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that is most commonly spread amongst people who are in close contact with each other.  The virus is contained within small respiratory droplets that are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  It is also possible to contract COVID-19 by touching surfaces that may have been contaminated by virus-containing respiratory droplets.  Depending on the type of surface, the virus can survive for days at a time.  For some examples please see the following:

  • Metal (such as doorknobs and jewelry): up to 5-days.
  • Wood (such as furniture): up to 4-days.
  • Plastics (such as subway and bus seats and elevator buttons): up to 2 to 3-days.
  • Stainless steel (sinks and counter tops): up to 2 to 3-days.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 has specific symptoms for those who have been infected, and symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed.  Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste and smell

There is currently no vaccine or cure for COVID-19, and people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions are more likely to experience more severe and potentially fatal conditions of COVID-19.   In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, remember the acronym WASH (Wash, Avoid, Sanitize, and Hold).

  • Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, consistently throughout the day.
  • Avoid close contact with people that are visibly sick and practice social distancing when in public spaces by staying at least 6 feet away.  Avoid large gatherings, and while in public, wear a mask or protective cloth face covering. 
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces.  A commercial disinfectant can be used or a bleach and water solution is acceptable.
  • Hold the inside of your elbow to your mouth to cover coughs and sneezes, this will prevent the spread of COVID-19 through hand contact. 

For more information or questions about preventing the spread of COVID-19, please speak with your supervisor or contact the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.